Forget about Stella, The Mary Louis Academy got its groove back.
The Hilltoppers snapped a four-game losing streak and actually picked up their first win in New York, beating 13-time defending PSAL champion Murry Bergtraum, 50-41, in the Francis Lewis Winter Ball in Queens Sunday afternoon.
“I feel like we’ve got our groove back,” Mary Louis junior guard Jasmine Nwajei said.
After splitting a pair in a season-opening tournament in Georgia, Mary Louis returned to New York and lost league games to Bishop Loughlin, Nazareth and Bishop Ford. Murry Bergtraum plays a similar style and this time the Hilltoppers executed.
“It was a lot of relief,” Mary Louis senior forward Liz Gully said. “We were looking for this for a long time and it’s good to finally get that off our shoulders.”
Gully (eight points) and Kate Goldman (six points) played a pivotal role in the victory with their play in the paint.
“I thought Liz Gully was fantastic on the boards…and I think Kim Goldman played absolutely fantastic,” Mary Louis coach Joe Lewinger said. “She totally clogged up the middle, she protected the basket and had a couple of nice layups in there.”
Mary Louis (2-4) also did a better job at the foul line, going 9-of-17, a far cry from the 23 missed free throws that plagued the Hilltoppers in an 82-63 loss to Nazareth Monday.
Nwajei continued on her strong start to her junior year, scoring a game-high 21 points, including nine in the critical third quarter as Mary Louis opened up an 11-point lead.
“Jazz is playing great basketball,” Lewinger said. “I think the best thing is her composure. She’s actually taking better angles to the basket, she’s able to get contact…Her and [freshman guard Mei-Lyn Bautista] work really well together at the top of the key shooting the gaps.”
Unlike in previous games, Mary Louis also protected the ball well, despite the Lady Blazers pressure and the Hilltoppers closed out the game strong.
“I think everyone contributed enough to make us win,” Nwajei said.
UNC Charlotte-bound guard Shequana Harris had 11 of her 12 points in the second half and freshman Ashanae McLaughlin added 12 for Bergtraum (4-4), which gutted out a 58-56 win against Lincoln Friday.
“They handled our press pretty well,” Bergtraum coach Ed Grezinsky said. “They have three good guards…When you hold a team to 50 points, you’re supposed to win the game. We have to do better offensively than we did. We have some young players in the post and they have to step up.”
Mount Vernon 57, Lincoln 50
LuBirdia Gordon scored a game-high 20 points and Sade King added 18 to guide Mount Vernon (3-1) in the opener of the Francis Lewis Winter Ball Sunday morning at Francis Lewis HS. Erica Juarbe, Shaquella Figueroa and Simonemmer Roberts had 14 points apiece for Lincoln (5-4).
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